Mickie (b.1922-d.2003) was a vital unstoppable life-force who just happened to be my much-admired mother. Though a product of rather severe Norwegian upbringing in Brandon, Manitoba, she was as funny, engaging and cheerful as any prairie girl ever raised on those flat plains. A piano prodigy who was on the verge of a promising musical career at the outbreak of WW2, Mickie used her talent to great effect as a WREN in London, England during WW2 keeping her fellow officers singing at the many parties between the blackouts and bombs. Among them was my dad, Frank (Toronto, b.1920-d.2006) whom she married there in September 1944.
They shared a rollercoaster of ups and downs as they raised a brood of 6 kids in Toronto, Windsor, Montreal, and finally Ottawa. A dedicated reader her entire life, she loved Waugh, Green and especially the Mitford girls, but she also read James Baldwin, William Goldman and John Steinbeck. She was huge Rex Stout fan and read and re-read the entire Nero Wolfe series. A dedicated CBC 2 listener, she loved classical music but would and did listen to anything musical.
She was a very good cook, but not a great chef, preferring Roast Beef to nouvelle cuisine, but loved and followed James Beard in the old days and Jamie Oliver in her declining ones. She treasured her copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, and was a collector of out-of-print cookbooks she liked to find at local flea markets. Something of an eccentric, she also started to collect kitsch and never threw away a Gourmet Magazine. In her late years she became the author of Laid Back Cuisine, sharing home-spun simple easy-to-make fare in the Merrickville Tribune and the Westport Mirror, local papers in the villages near where she and Frank had retired (he being the author in the same papers of a column called A Slice of Life.)
The collection of all those Gourmet Magazines, Mickie’s Mags, is how this site can to be.
Just a few years before she died, she had my father dump about 400 copies of Gourmet Magazine in my garage, and there they stayed crammed into makeshift filing cabinets. From there, eventually, I decided to share them with you and here they are.
If you are of an age where you read them, you will remember each issue had two popular sections. The first, called Sugar and Spice, contained beloved recipes from readers. The second, called The Last Touch, contained professionally written recipes from the editors about the mainstream European / American repertoire, from sauces to sandwiches. I scanned both sections from each magazine together with its iconic cover, and then compiled an index to make it easy to search for common recipe keywords: you should be able to quickly navigate and then see the original recipe as it was published.
Of course there are a few gaps as my mother passed a few copies to friends, and over time I will try to find the few missing ones from 1970 – 2000. But all the great recipes are here for you- the Gourmet classics – and I know Mickie would be as thrilled as I am to be able to share them with you.